The European Championships and Copa América are being played this summer across Europe and Brazil respectively. Aston Villa have participants across the globe, competing to win silverware for their nations.
The European Championships
England: Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings
Both Captain Jack and his deputy skipper are at the Euros as part of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad.
After making his debut for England in October 2019 (against Bulgaria), Mings has been capped 12 times by the three lions. The injury sustained to Harry Maguire (at Villa Park) at the end of the Premier League season, opened the door for Mings to begin nailing down a spot in Southgate’s XI.
Grealish had to wait longer for the former Villa captain to hand him a national team call-up. In September 2020, the long-awaited moment came, as Grealish was subbed on against Denmark. He has since made 8 appearances and continues to shine on the world stage – just as he does at Villa.
To date, Mings has featured in both of England’s group stage games while Grealish was introduced late on in the draw against Scotland.
England’s final group D fixture is on Tuesday night, against the Czech Republic. Both sides are already guaranteed qualification so it will be interesting to see who wants to win the group.
Scotland: John McGinn
Playing in their first Euros since 1996, the Scots want the summer of 2021 to be remembered for the right reasons. In a more advanced, attacking role to the position he plays at Villa, John McGinn is a key man in Steve Clarke’s midfield.
Having made his national team debut in March 2016, McGinn is a seasoned international player. Scoring 10 goals in 35 appearances (including an overhead kick earlier this year), McGinn is often relied upon by his teammates.
Scotland faces Croatia on Tuesday night and only a win would secure qualification to the knockout stages.
Honourable Mentions: Ollie Watkins, Anwar El Ghazi
Ollie Watkins was included in England’s provisional squad of 33 players. However, he was one of the seven players cut from the group in the scaling down. He scored on his three lions debut, against San Marino in March 2021, and continued training with the current squad until their final pre-tournament friendly.
For the Netherlands, Anwar El Ghazi was also named in their provisional squad. Unfortunately, he too was dropped as manager Frank De Boer down-sized. He is yet to make a Dutch appearance since he was capped twice in 2015.
Argentina: Emi Martinez
Hosted by Brazil, this summers delayed South American championship sees three Villa stars in action.
In the Argentine national squad, Emi Martinez continues to battle Agustín Marchesín (Porto) for the first-choice position in goal.
Martinez made his debut in a 1-1 draw with Chile in the world cup qualifiers (before Copa América started), and seemingly now holds the first-choice position.
Is this the dawn of a new era between the sticks for La Albiceleste?
In their first match, Martinez saved a penalty, however, the rebound was poked home. On Saturday, he kept clean sheets in the 1-0 wins against Uruguay and Paraguay.
Argentina are top of group A and have Bolivia still to play.
Brazil: Douglas Luiz
Whilst his country plays host to the tournament, Luiz continues to force himself into the Brazilian midfield.
He is a regular call-up in the squad nowadays and competes for a place in the team alongside Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, Real Madrid’s Casemiro, and Liverpool’s Fabinho.
Brazil are top of Group B, with wins coming against Venezuela and Peru. The nine-time winners of the competition have Columbia and Ecuador still to play.
They are favourites for the title ahead of Martinez’s Argentina.
After both tournaments were put on hold, their arrival has been eagerly awaited this summer. The delay gave Villa the chance to add further representatives across the globe; we wish good luck to them all.